We've covered some rare and unusual watches in the blog before, but the model we will be looking at today is probably the rarest of them all. It is the Royal Orient reference WE0011DU.
The Royal WE0011DU was among a few models released by Orient ten years ago, in celebration of the brand's. It was, of course, the most exclusive (and expensive, by some margin) of the lot: a limited edition of just 12 (twelve!) pieces.
The specs of this beast were impressive enough, certainly close to the top of Orient's all-time releases, both in their mechanics as well as the esthetics.
The movement was caliber 48Z40, a uniquely skeletonized variant of the 48 family, similar to caliber 48B56 found in other, "standard" Royal Orient Skeletons (as much as these can be called standard). However, looking at the finish and unique bridge construction of the movement, it is obvious a lot of effort had gone into making this piece stand out.
Similar to other 48 calibers, the movement is hand-winding only, boasting 50 hours of power reserve and stated accuracy of +10/-5 seconds per day, at a frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour.
The case of the WE0011DU was 38.5mm wide, 45.5mm lug to lug, and 10.1 mm thick. Both front and back were covered by sapphire glass, not surprisingly. The watch case and dial feature plenty of finely finished surfaces, both mirror- and satin-polished, achieved through much more manual work than even most Royal Orient models.
Looking beyond the specs, this unique Orient must have been quite a sight, and it's a shame that so little information and real-life photos of it are available! But it makes sense that costing close to 6,000 USD (roughly 2.5 times the cost of "regular" Royal Orient skeleton models!) and being produced in such a small quantity, it has become a safe-queen for most of its owners.
I do like to set some fairly tough targets for my collection, and as followers of the blog must have noted I have succeeded in acquiring some models that are very hard to get. But to be honest, I'm not even aiming at finding the WE0011DU! I'd be happy to even see some photos of this watch. Just to be sure the legendary beast even exists…